My Morning Routine: Why Everyone Should Slow Down in the Mornings

I have always thought of myself to be a night owl, someone who can stay up until 2am, but then sleeps in until 11am. However, on August 11th of this year,  sorority recruitment began, and recruitment requires girls to get up at 6am at the latest. So I did, I got up between 6 and 7am for the rest of recruitment, and it wasn’t as bad as I expected.

Although I didn’t continue to wake up at 6am when I didn’t have to, some of the perceptions I had about myself and what my body is capable of doing, changed. I was instantly inspired to start getting up earlier in the morning, and having a few hours to myself before I was required to start my day.

Ever since, I have been following a “mindful morning routine.” Basically, I wrote down a list of things I want to complete every morning, and all of them require that I get up earlier.

Until this year, I would get up at the last minute for my college classes. If I had class at 9:10, I would get up at 8:30, sometimes even later. Just enough time to brush my teeth, change my clothes, and walk to class from my dorm.

This year, I have done the opposite. I have been leaving myself between an hour and a half to two hours each morning to do whatever I please. Having that extra time to be with myself, and do things that are beneficial for my health, has greatly enriched my daily life, and made me more fulfilled.

The first thing I do in the morning after turning off my alarm, is open up the blinds and turn on my aromatherapy diffuser. I usually diffuse peppermint into the room, as its known to have energizing effects. I then roll over onto my stomach, and grab my journal to track my anxiety levels from the previous day, and write about anything else that is on my mind.

After journaling, I roll out of bed, drink some water, and make my bed. I have always made my bed in the morning, regardless of whether I was getting up with 30 minutes to spare, or two hours. Making my bed is the first productive thing I do in the morning, and if I fail to do so, I lose that sense of productivity, and am more tempted to crawl back under the covers.

After I make my bed, I turn some tunes on. When I listen to music in the morning, I listen to it quietly and the songs are always soft.

Here are a few Spotify playlists I listen to:

  1. https://open.spotify.com/user/k3560hbr6i433udsjyy8a5xp5/playlist/0Ae3AfmbKEvsPyq7uehwdQ?si=nUWrXOEoQOuXNkwLvhWxbQ
  2. https://open.spotify.com/user/rrc9pu91j5jwugsqfdh2q26p3/playlist/4IjixiCTQwpeooIDh5X6sq?si=gsqh1LkpTkOV7jsn8pNYCg

Instead of getting dressed after I make my bed, I allow myself to stay in comfy clothes. I either keep the pj’s on that I wore that night or I change into a pair of shorts and a t-shirt. I grab my speaker, water bottle, and yoga mat, and head out onto our patio. Lately, it’s been around 45 degrees when I go outside to stretch and meditate, so I usually put on a hoodie as well. Contrary to popular belief, the brisk air feels refreshing.

The stretching and meditating lasts for about 20 to 30 minutes, before I head back inside to get dressed. If you’re not one to meditate (although I highly recommend you try), this time can be replaced with sipping coffee, showering, planning your day, or anything else that makes you feel relaxed.

I pick out my outfit the night before, so that always shaves off some time and stress in the morning as well.

After getting dressed, I complete any to do’s or studying I have to finish before my classes.  I then head to the kitchen to make some breakfast. Lately, I have been slacking and haven't left enough time to eat a good meal. But when I do, I eat some fruit, usually mango or strawberries, and an egg, or toast.

If I’ve done well with my time management, I will have enough time to eat my meal mindfully, watch a YouTube video, and check the New York Times to stay informed.

This is also when I allow myself to check my phone for the first time for the day. Staying away from the screen not only saves time, but it keeps me from feeling overwhelmed.

Allowing myself time in the morning to do things that benefit my health like meditating, stretching, journaling, reading, and in general just taking things slower, have decreased my overall stress and anxiety, and made me feel more grateful and satisfied.

There seems to be a forced focus on constantly being productive (for school and work that is). While I think it’s great to motivate one another to be on top of school, I think that we have developed a work culture that glamorizes being busy. I think we all need a little more time to ourselves, and since we control what time we get up, mornings can be that “me time.”